Yep, we can’t deny the reality that we live in a canned cocktail world. I still recall my old days working at Lone Star Oyster Bar when the beer alternative, Zima, hit the market. It didn’t really taste like anything and didn’t have a lot of alcohol, but it certainly set the bar a buzz (or maybe it was the cinnamon-filled Goldschläger that was introduced around the same time.)
Fast forward many years, and the “ready to drink” RTD category is the fastest growing alcohol category, representing a $1.6 billion business (via Business Wire). It may be thanks to Oregon’s Underwood that first introduced canned Pinot Noir at the International Pinot Noir Celebration to pair with the event’s massive salmon barbecue picnic, or the onslaught of brands like Truly, White Claw, and even Kirkland, delivering low-alcohol seltzers in skinny cans with a whisper of flavor, but the category is here to stay and everyone seems to be getting on board.
Over the summer, Gary and I have taste tested many, adding these to the list we published a bit ago. Here are a few we recommend.
Hope you enjoy and be safe this holiday weekend! #Cheers
I have written about them before, but the canned wine selections from The Paring are still some of the best RTD options available. This is because it is the same wine they are putting in their full-size bottles, and that juice is stellar juice from the Jonata and Hilt estates in Santa Barbara County. Though the mini 250ml cans aren’t as easily available as some options, you will be pleased if you can get your hands on them.
Juicy, rich, and somewhat surprising for canned wine, Le Petit Verre Malbec ($14 for a four-pack of 250ml cans) is from high-elevation organic vineyards within the foothills of the Andes in the Tupungato region of Argentina. Meaning “small glass” in French, a nod to the French origins of the winery’s owners, Ripe red cherry, wet leaves, earthy mushroom, and blackberry meld together for easy drinking, approachable and tasty red wine perfect for a barbecue. The producer also has a refreshing sparkling rose that is equally as tasty, with lovely, lively effervescence. A perfect pair for holiday weekend fun!
Wander + Ivy is the prettiest packaging for a single-serve wine. With heavy glass bottles (i.e you can get an arm workout by pumping these single-serve selections) and lovely floral-designed labels, you will be excited to unscrew the stelvin closer to enjoy the wine. Crafted from organic fruit from vineyards dotted around the globe, the wine options include California Chardonnay, French Rose, California Cabernet, a Spanish Red Blend, and a floral Italian white blend. We preferred the Rose and the Chardonnay best. The wine isn’t cheap, likely the most expensive option available, but Wander + Ivy seems to be about luxury versus affordability, and all that glass doesn’t come cheap. Each 187ml bottle is $8/$68 for an eight-pack.
Introduced last year, Decoy Premium Seltzers are made with sparkling water, Decoy wine, and natural fruit flavors for a juicy, fruity, and crisp cocktail with a bit of sweetness that awakens the palate and is perfect for sipping poolside. We tried the Seltzer Rosé with Black Cherry ($15 for a four-pack of 250ml cans.) The sparkling seltzer had more flavor than some seltzers we have tried, leading with wild strawberry and cherry, with 80 calories per can.
Like Decoy’s offering, Line 39 recently released a line of spritzers mixing their affordable, approachable wines with sparkling water and natural fruit flavors for a juicy, slightly sweet, but easy canned option that is a perfect thirst quencher on a warm day. We liked the Sauvignon Blanc Spritzer with a hint of lemon mixed with juicy grapefruit and lychee and the strawberry-filled Rose offering.
If you prefer a cocktail instead of wine, you are also in luck. Whiskey producer Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills in Central California’s SLO Coast region recently introduced a new line of RTD cocktails, including a tasty Whiskey Mule, Whiskey Paloma, and Whiskey Margarita. Each option is 11% ABV/22 proof, so they pack much more punch than most canned seltzer offerings, so drink slowly. However, it will be challenging to do this, as the cocktails are tasty. We loved the Mule, as I am a die-hard ginger fan, but all were delicious.
Historic Tequila producer Cazadores’ new Ranch Water cocktail blends 100% blue weber agave Tequila Cazadores Blanco, sparkling mineral water, and fresh lime juice for a clean, crisp, balanced cocktail that is perfect for end-of-summer sipping. Since 1922 Cazadores has been crafting premium tequila from the highland town of Jalisco. Available in 12-ounce cans for $15 for four, the all-natural cocktail melds lovely floral notes from the tequila with bright citrus and palate-cleansing freshness.